MONEY MATTERS

Currency & Foreign Exchange
The currency is South African Rand (ZAR). One rand ® is equal to 100 cents ©. Notes are issued in the following denominations: R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10. Coins: R5, R2, R1, 50c, 2c and 1c. Foreign currency may be exchanged at any commercial bank, American Express, Thomas Cook, Rennies and Foreign Exchange or Diners Club International office. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are to be found in the central business districts and accept international bank and credit cards.

Credit Cards
South Africa has a modern and sophisticated banking and commercial system and most shops and hotels will accept credit cards and traveller's cheques.

Tipping
Many waiters and waitresses are students who rely on tips to supplement their wages. The accepted average is 10 - 15% to all caddies, taxi drivers, chambermaids, stewards, waiters and tour guides. A tip of R2 to R3 per piece of luggage is acceptable to porters in hotels and airports.

VAT (Value Added Tax)
South Africa has adopted a Value Added Tax system of 14 % on all goods, services, meals, accommodation, etc. If you are a foreign visitor to South Africa, you can reclaim your VAT on purchases if you've spent more than R250 on items you're taking out of the country. Go to the VAT office at the Airport International Departures Hall. You'll need your original tax invoices and your passport, fill in a form and have the goods you bought available for inspection. The banks in the Departure Lounge will give you your refund in your home currency.

BUSINESS HOURS

Banking Hours
Most banks are open between 09h00 and 15h30 daily and Saturdays between 08h30 to 11h00, although some are open from 08h30 to 16h30. Small town branches often close between 13h00 and 14h00.

Trading Hours
General shopping hours are 08h30 to 17h30 on weekdays and 08h00 to 13h00 on Saturdays. There are no major big shopping malls in the Overberg. The nearest shopping mall is Somerset Mall, located in Somerset West, next to the N2.
Several 'cafes' (convenience shops) are open at 07h00 or earlier and remain open until late, open 7 days a week. There are 24-hour express shops found at many larger petrol stations.

COMMUNICATIONS

· Visitors can hire a cell-phone (mobile phone) at the airport or at any MTN or VODAGO cellular shops.
· Blue public phones work on coins (20c, 50c and R1 coins are best) while green public phones work on local Telkom phone cards, which you can purchase in a variety of shops and post offices. Telephones are fully automatic with direct dialing to most countries.
· Post Offices are remarkably inexpensive. Currently for R2.10 you can send a postcard to Europe or the United States. Letters cost R3.00 for a standard envelope up to 50g in weight.
· Internet access, courier and fax facilities, postage stamps, stationary, public telephones and other communications services are also available from Internet cafes and commercial Post Net shops.

HEALTH WISE

Visitors are advised to obtain medical insurance prior to leaving their country of origin, as visitors are responsible for their own medical needs. There are first-rate medical and dental facilities in the Overberg. Charges are very reasonable by international standards. Hospitalisation is generally arranged through medical practitioners, although visitors may phone or go directly to a hospital casualty section, in the case of an emergency. Ambulance services may be reached on the emergency number 10177.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

New Year's Day 1 Jan
Human Rights Day 21 Mar
Good Friday 13 Apr
Family Day 16 Apr
Freedom Day 27 Apr
Workers Day 1 May
Youth Day 16 Jun
Nat Women's Day 9 Aug
Heritage Day 24 Sep
Day of Reconciliation 16 Dec
Christmas Day 25 Dec

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is regarded as a public holiday.


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